• Monday, Jan 18, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:00 am

China to assess downstream impact before Brahmaputra dam construction

  • Published at 11:20 pm December 2nd, 2020
Brahmaputra River
File photo: Fishermen paddle their boat in the waters of Brahmaputra River after selling their catch at a market during sunset, in Guwahati on November 7, 2020 AFP

Chinese official says downstream development of the river is at a "preliminary planning and demonstration" stage

China will take into consideration the interest of other countries before firming up any plan to develop a dam on the Yarlung Tsangbo river, which flows into Bangladesh and India, a Chinese official in New Delhi said on Wednesday.

On Monday, Chinese state media reported the country could build up to 60 gigawatts (GW) of hydropower capacity in the lower reaches of the river, known as the Brahmaputra in Bangladesh and India.

The report raised concerns in Bangladesh and India, with authorities fearing that Chinese projects could trigger flash floods or create intense water scarcity.

Ji Rong, an official at the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, said that downstream development of the river was at a "preliminary planning and demonstration" stage.

"Any project will undergo scientific planning and demonstration with full consideration for the impact on the downstream areas and the interests of both upstream and downstream countries," she said in a statement.

The Brahmaputra is one of India's largest and most important rivers, cutting through the northeastern part of the country, before entering Bangladesh.

To offset any upstream Chinese construction, India is considering building a 10 GW hydropower project in the remote eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian official said on Tuesday.

Diplomatic relations between the neighbouring nuclear powers are strained after clashes on a remote Himalayan border this summer, where thousands of troops remained deployed in the biting cold.

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